This curriculum policy replaces The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10: Native Studies, 1999 and The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 11 and 12: Native Studies, 2000. All courses in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies (formerly named “Native studies”) are now based on the expectations outlined in this curriculum policy.
The courses outlined in this curriculum provide broad and deep explorations of issues concerning First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada and Indigenous peoples around the world. The First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies program consists of two courses in Grades 9 and 10 and eight courses in Grades 11 and 12, covering subject matter across several associated disciplines. Students may take one or more First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies courses, providing they have the relevant prerequisites (see below).
In Grade 9, students have the opportunity to explore various First Nations, Métis, and Inuit art forms in a course (NAC1O) that may be used to fulfil the compulsory credit requirement in the arts.
In Grade 10, students can investigate the histories of First Nations and Inuit in Canada from precontact, as well as Métis from their beginnings, to the present day (NAC2O).
The First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies courses in Grades 11 and 12 examine the cultural expressions, histories, world views, and current realities of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world. The Grade 11 courses named “English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices” (NBE3U, NBE3C, and NBE3E) focus on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit textual, oral, and media studies and may be used to meet the Grade 11 English compulsory credit requirement. Also offered in Grade 11 are three courses with a social sciences focus, each exploring issues, world views, and perspectives relevant to contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities (NDA3M, NBV3C, and NBV3E).
Two courses are offered in Grade 12, one exploring First Nations, Métis, and Inuit governance (NDG4M), and the other examining the global context of contemporary issues concerning Indigenous peoples (NDW4M).
Subject matter from any course in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies can be combined with subject matter from one or more courses in other disciplines to create an interdisciplinary course. The policies and procedures regarding the development of interdisciplinary courses are outlined in the interdisciplinary studies curriculum policy document.
In addition to the courses noted above that may be used to meet compulsory credit requirements (NAC1O; NBE3U/C/E), students may choose a course from the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies curriculum to meet the Group 1 compulsory credit requirement (see Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12, 2016, section 6.1.1).
Five types of courses are offered in the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies program: university preparation, university/college preparation, college preparation, workplace preparation, and open courses. Students choose between course types on the basis of their interests, achievement, and postsecondary goals, as well as the pathways they are pursuing. The course types are defined as follows:
The courses outlined in this curriculum are designed as full-credit courses. However, with the exception of the Grade 12 university/college preparation courses, they may also be delivered as half-credit courses.
Half-credit courses, which require a minimum of fifty-five hours of scheduled instructional time, adhere to the following conditions:
Boards will ensure that all half-credit courses comply with the conditions described above, and will report all half-credit courses to the ministry annually in the School October Report.
The expectations identified for each course describe the knowledge and skills that students are expected to develop and demonstrate in their class work, on tests, and in various other activities on which their achievement is assessed and evaluated.
Two sets of expectations – overall expectations and specific expectations – are listed for each strand, or broad area of the curriculum. (The number of strands varies per course. Strands are lettered A, B, C, and so on.) Taken together, the overall and specific expectations represent the mandated curriculum.
The overall expectations describe in general terms the knowledge and skills that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of each course. The specific expectations describe the expected knowledge and skills in greater detail. The specific expectations are grouped under numbered headings, each of which indicates the strand and the overall expectation to which the group of specific expectations corresponds (e.g., “B2” indicates that the group relates to overall expectation 2 in strand B). This organization is not meant to imply that the expectations in any one group are achieved independently of the expectations in the other groups. The numbered headings are used merely to help teachers focus on particular aspects of knowledge and skills as they develop various lessons and plan learning activities for their students.
Most specific expectations are accompanied by examples and “sample questions”, as requested by educators. The examples, given in parentheses, are meant to clarify the requirement specified in the expectation, illustrating the kind of knowledge or skill, the specific area of learning, the depth of learning, and/or the level of complexity that the expectation entails. The sample questions are meant to illustrate the kinds of questions teachers might pose in relation to the requirement specified in the expectation. Both the examples and the sample questions have been developed to model appropriate practice for the grade and are meant to serve as illustrations for teachers. Both are intended as suggestions for teachers rather than as exhaustive or mandatory lists. Teachers can choose to use the examples and questions that are appropriate for their classrooms, or they may develop their own approaches that reflect a similar level of complexity. Whatever the specific ways in which the requirements outlined in the expectations are implemented in the classroom, they must, wherever possible, be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the student population and the population of the province.
The diagram represents a page from the PDF version of the curriculum. It shows all of the elements of a page of curriculum expectations, as set out in the PDF. The digital curriculum looks different, but the elements remain the same.
Individual courses in the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies curriculum are associated, to greater or lesser degrees, with particular disciplines and/or subjects in the Ontario curriculum, as indicated in the chart below. The brief introduction that precedes each course or set of courses in this document provides further information about the focus of the course or set of courses, the strand organization, and ideas, learning tools, and processes from the associated subject or discipline. Courses that are closely connected with a particular subject or discipline tend to rely more heavily on that discipline’s ideas, tools, and processes, such as the inquiry and research process associated with it. (see next section)
To better support the work of educators, the course introductions for courses that can be used to meet compulsory credit requirements – “Expressions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultures” (NAC1O) and “English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices” (NBE3U/3C/3E) – provide somewhat more detailed information about strands and disciplinary tools and processes.
In addition to disciplinary context, the course introductions provide critical information about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultural contexts, student well-being and cultural safety, ethics and engagement protocols, cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation, intellectual property, and the application of Indigenous methods and materials.
The expectations in each First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies course are organized into distinct but related strands. The strand organization may reflect the organization used in courses in the associated discipline. Strand organization may also be adapted or revised to reflect the themes and concepts that are uniquely associated with Indigenous approaches to the subject. In most courses, there is a strand that focuses on the research and inquiry process and/or relevant skill development for the subject. Information about the organization of strands in each course (or set of courses, such as the Grade 11 English courses) is provided in the introduction to the course or set of courses.
Research and inquiry are at the heart of learning in all disciplines and subject areas. As in all areas, students in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies courses develop their ability to ask questions and to explore a variety of possible answers to those questions. As their skills develop, students are encouraged to respectfully engage with local First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit partners such as knowledge keepers, Elders or Senators, community representatives, or other knowledgeable Indigenous individuals in the process of gathering and evaluating information to support their investigations. Students are required to reflect on what they have learned, how their knowledge and understanding have been formed, the perspective or perspectives that influence their interpretation of what they have learned, and what other resources they may need to consult to reach a fully informed conclusion.
While the research and inquiry process varies in certain respects from one discipline to another, some aspects or components of the process are shared across all disciplines. The following five components are usually in evidence, to differing degrees in different disciplines:
Students explore various issues, events, developments, and/or forms of cultural, artistic, or literary expression in order to identify the focus of their investigation. They formulate hypotheses, research questions, or thesis statements in order to develop criteria that they will use in evaluating data, evidence, and/or information; in making judgements, decisions, or predictions; in reaching conclusions; and/or in solving problems or creative challenges.
Students create research plans, develop research tools, and locate and select relevant sources of data, evidence, and/or information. They record their sources and organize the material to decide whether they have collected enough information for their inquiry. Students learn to identify the purpose, intent, and point of view of each source, and to determine if their sources are credible, accurate, reliable, and authentic.
Students use a variety of tools to help them interpret and analyse the data, evidence, and/or information they have gathered. They identify the key points or ideas in each source and analyse the importance for individuals and/or groups of the topic they are investigating. Students learn to detect any bias in individual sources and to determine whether all points of view are represented in the source materials as a whole, or which, if any, are missing.
Students synthesize data, evidence, and/or information and make informed, critical judgements. They make connections between different factors, ideas, and contexts, and to their own knowledge and experience, in order to reach conclusions about events, developments, issues, and/or forms of cultural, artistic, or literary expression. Students learn to support their conclusions with evidence and make predictions based on their data, evidence, and/or information.
As students communicate their findings, arguments, judgements, conclusions, and solutions, they use appropriate forms (e.g., oral, visual, written, kinaesthetic) for different audiences and purposes. They learn to cite sources using appropriate forms of documentation and to express their ideas clearly and logically. This set of skills also includes the ability to reflect on the research process in order to identify steps for improvement.
As they advance through the grades, students acquire the skills to locate and gather relevant information from a wide range of primary and secondary sources of information that include Indigenous knowledge sources. These primary sources may include, but are not limited to, sources such as Indigenous ecological knowledge, oral teachings, interviews with Indigenous individuals, songs, dances, traditional clothing, addresses and affirmations, symbols, material repositories of cultural knowledge such as wampum belts, creative literature, and works of art. Secondary sources of Indigenous knowledge may include, but are not limited to, books and articles by Indigenous authors, websites, documentaries by Indigenous filmmakers, and current newspapers and magazines produced by Indigenous organizations and/or communities. All these Indigenous knowledge sources enrich students’ investigations and deepen their understanding of the inquiry process.
The questioning students practised in the early grades becomes more sophisticated as they learn that all sources of information have a particular point of view and that the recipient of the information has a responsibility to evaluate it, determine its validity and relevance, and use it with permission and in appropriate ways. Developing the ability to locate, question, and validate information allows a student to become an independent, lifelong learner.
The introductions that precede each course or set of courses in this curriculum outline the unique aspects of the inquiry process in the discipline with which the course is associated. Skills and strategies for every stage of the process for each subject need to be taught explicitly. The type of questions asked, the information, evidence, and/or data gathered, and the analysis applied will vary by subject. It is important for teachers to understand that the inquiry process is not necessarily implemented in a linear fashion. For example, teachers may:
Students will use the applicable components of the process in the order most appropriate for them and for the task at hand, and not all investigations will involve all components. Moreover, there are different entry points within the process, and these may depend on student readiness. Prior knowledge, resources, and time may also be factors. Students will tend to move back and forth between the areas as they practise and refine their skills. In addition, each inquiry is unique and will require a particular mix and sequence of skills.
This flexibility and openness to a range of inquiry processes and ways of knowing is crucial to the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies curriculum. Throughout the inquiry process in all courses, students learn to apply the Indigenous research principles of intent, reciprocity, and respect and to acknowledge Indigenous ways of knowing and related protocols. It is essential that students:
Students must be taught how to adhere to cultural protocols as they gather, organize, and interpret information; formulate conclusions and/or develop creative responses and expressions; and communicate and/or present the results.
It is also important to be aware that inquiries will not always result in one “right answer”. Rather, to assess the effectiveness of their investigations, students must develop the ability to reflect on their work throughout the inquiry process. Such reflection requires the ability to develop criteria that can be used, for example, to evaluate the relevance of their questions, the accuracy and strength of their evidence, the depth and logic of their analysis, and the strength of the support for their interpretation and conclusion. In the context of creative and critical analysis, in “Expressions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultures” (NAC1O), students also need to reflect on their responses to the work of others, including work by Indigenous creators, and to develop their ability to assess and communicate the qualities of their own and others’ works. Teachers demonstrate the skills needed for reflection, and provide opportunities for students to practise them, while encouraging students to continually reflect on their work.
Students are also engaged in aspects of communication throughout the inquiry process, as they ask questions, organize and analyse information, and critically evaluate their findings. The final communication of a student’s findings or creative process should take the form most suited to the nature of the inquiry, as well as to the intended audience, and should take the student’s learning style and strengths into account.